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Author: Mike Schoby
The name speaks for itself - super fast set up, combined with top performance makes the Lightning Set ground blind the choice of serious hunters everywhere.
As a bow hunter, I have found many uses for a blind. From whitetails in the back 40 to African game on the other side of the globe, blinds can increase your success tremendously. Blinds come in many shapes and sizes but not all are created equal. Some are fast and easy to set up, while others are not. Some are stable and blend into a variety of surroundings while others shake in the slightest breeze, make noise and stick out like a sore thumb. Aside from these features, hunters also need a blind that does not break their back or their wallet.
Over the years, I have hunted out of many different blinds; a review of them all could simply be called "The good, the bad and of course...the ugly". Some worked well, some not so well. Some were large enough to shoot from, but weighed a ton. Others were easy to carry, but too small to draw comfortably. In short, I have never hunted from a blind that I was completely satisfied with - until now. Always on the lookout for new technology that will help me be more successful in the field, I was very interested when Tom Gallagher, Cabela's Treestand/Blind Product Manager recently told me about Cabela's exclusive new blind.
"Cabela's recently has introduced a new blind, called the Lightning Set, that incorporates the best features of all the blinds currently on the market, at a much more affordable price. You really have to see it to believe it," he informed me. Looking a prototype over, I had to agree - at first glance the Lightning Set blind looked like a neat package. To begin with, it is compact when rolled up - fitting into a 4" X 48" case, complete with a shoulder strap. It is also lightweight - tipping the scales at a feathery 12 pounds, so carrying one into your favorite honey hole is a breeze. But what really excited me about the Lightning Set blind is what the name implies - it is remarkably quick to set up. By simply reaching inside the blind, grasping a handle and pulling, the blind pops open like an umbrella. Just what I was looking for - a blind that is lightweight and could go from "in the bag" to "ready to hunt" in under 10 seconds. While there are other blinds on the market that set up "instantly", I have never been very impressed with their strength or rigidity once set up - they tend to shudder and move in the slightest breeze. Not so with the Lightning Set blind. Once erected, the fabric is taut and the structure is sound.
While it is incredibly quick to set up - the real "lightning" feature comes when you are ready to go home. It breaks down simply and quickly. No twisting of spring steel or complicated folding is required. All you have to do is simply exit the blind, rap the inner hub located on the top of the blind sharply with the palm of your hand, and the Lighting Set blind completely folds up - ready to be stored back in its bag.
Needless to say, I was impressed; but the true test would come after using this blind afield. Archery antelope season was underway when I had an opportunity to field-test this new gem. I had located an active waterhole a mile off a dirt two-track, in some prime Nebraska real estate. Early on opening morning, I slung the Lightning Set blind over my shoulder and headed off in the dark, in search of my speed goat. Carrying the blind was easy and it didn't get in the way of my pack, making the hike in very enjoyable. In the pre-dawn glow I popped the blind opened and within seconds was stowing my gear inside.
As the morning turned from pale pink to burning daylight, and my opening day excitement waned, I had some time to examine the inside of the blind. In addition to being well constructed, it was easy to tell some serious thought went into the overall design. Unlike some blinds that inhibit your view, the Lightning Set has a 360-degree, unobstructed view by utilizing 6 large windows. All six of the openings, can be completely covered with solid pieces of 3D Seclusion material for maximum concealment and darkness, or partially closed with the use of mesh "shoot through" windows. The mesh windows provided a good amount of shade and concealment with the ability of taking the shot instantly. As a side note - while the shoot-through windows work great with fixed bladed broadheads, they are not recommended for use with expandable heads as the blades may prematurely open.
One problem I have had with most blinds, is the lack of internal storage. It seems that binoculars, rangefinders and water bottles are always underfoot, but can never be found when you need them. Not so with the Lightning Set - there are two divided mesh-storage compartments that worked great for small items like rangefinders and binoculars - keeping them off the floor and ready for immediate action should the need arise.
The overall design of the blind also contributed to my comfort - making hunting in any type of weather a "breeze". On the particular day I hunted from the Lightning Set blind - the sun was pounding down and the temperature soared to over 100 degrees. In my mind, these kinds of conditions are not the prime time to be setting out in the middle of a desert zipped inside what is essentially a tent. But I was pleasantly surprised. The large windows let ample amounts of air pass through and the uniquely designed top allowed hot air to escape very effectively. The top of the tent has a mesh ventilation pad and a unique tent-style rain fly that keeps the weather out but allows plenty of ventilation. The full effect is like sitting in the shade of a tree on a hot day. When the temperature breaks 100, the blind is still hot, but manageable. For "normal" fall applications, this blind will also shine, keeping moisture out and offering protection from the elements.
One of the biggest requirements of any blind is concealment and the Lightning Set is no slouch here. Regardless of where you hunt, the Lightning Set is available in a camo pattern to perfectly match your surroundings. For traditional hardwoods settings, the standard Seclusion 3D pattern blends in perfectly. For open country hunting, the Seclusion 3D Open Country is the ideal pattern. If you plan on using this blind in high country coniferous terrain the Seclusion 3D Konifer pattern is sure to get the job done.